Capital Research Center

Capital Research Center (CRC)


The Capital Research Center (CRC) was founded in 1984 by Willa Johnson to “study non-profit organizations, with a special focus on reviving the American traditions of charity, philanthropy, and voluntarism.” Prior to founding CRC, Willa Johnson had been Senior Vice President of the Heritage Foundation, then worked as Deputy Director of the Office of Presidential Personnel in the first Reagan administration, and as a legislative aide in both the U.S. Senate and U.S. House of Representatives. [1][2]

The Capital Research Center believes that “Many charities and foundations now urge lawmakers to expand the powers of the welfare state, regulate the economy and limit individual freedoms.” [3]

As part of the conservative campaign to 'Defund the left' the Capital Research Center produces a range of publications targeting foundations, unions and activist groups that it views as supporting liberal causes. [4]

The Capital Research Center's monthly publications include the following:

  • Organization Trends that reports on and analyzes the activities of advocacy organizations;
  • Labor Watch that scrutinizes union contributions and activism;
  • Foundation Watch that “examines the grantmaking of private foundations”
  • Compassion & Culture (discontinued in 2009), which highlighted the “work of small, locally based charities that help the needy.”
  • Green Watch, which it describes as a project dedicated to “monitoring the leadership, activities and funding of the liberal environmentalist movement” [5]

The Capital Research Center has also published Patterns in Corporate Philanthropy, which documents corporate donations to non-profit groups. 

Stance on Climate Change

“Years from now, when Global Warming theory is on the ashheap of history with supposed science like white supremacy, Piltdown Man, canals on Mars, Keynesianism, and N-rays, taxpayers will probably still be stuck paying for insane subsidies and mandates for ancient technologies repackaged as waves of the future—wind, solar, biofuels, dippy birds, whatever—and the I-Love-Science-When-It-Supports-My-Prejudices 'Progressives' will probably still be pushing policies like the Obama War on Coal, although, by then, they may have moved on to, say, a War on Fire conducted by the administration of President Chelsea Clinton or perhaps President Charlotte Clinton Mezvinsky-Kennedy, who will get elected on an 'anti-dynasty' platform.” [6]

“As regular visitors to this space know well, there is no basis for the claim, put forth by President Obama and other radical environmentalists, that “97 percent” of scientists believe in Global Warming theory. They repeat this imaginary statistic over and over because, when it comes to real science, they got nuthin’.” [7]

“Despite environmentalist claims of a 'consensus' on global warming, climate science is contentious.” [8]


The following is based on data the Conservative Transparency project collected from publicly-available 990 tax returns. Note that not all funding values have been verified by DeSmog. See the attached spreadsheet for additional information on Capital Research Center funding by year (.xlsx)[11]

Donor and Year Total
Sarah Scaife Foundation $6,150,000
The Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation $2,653,320
Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation $650,000
William H. Donner Foundation $635,833
John M. Olin Foundation $617,500
Philip M. McKenna Foundation $526,000
Searle Freedom Trust $445,000
Lillian S. Wells Foundation $390,000
Donors Capital Fund $332,500
Hickory Foundation $301,000
Stuart Family Foundation $257,000
Scaife Family Foundation $255,000
The Samuel Roberts Noble Foundation $245,000
Exxon Mobil $225,000
The Carthage Foundation $225,000
Earhart Foundation $222,000
Jaquelin Hume Foundation $175,000
The Randolph Foundation $173,000
The Rodney Fund $150,000
Huizenga Foundation $115,000
The Roe Foundation $110,000
F.M. Kirby Foundation $110,000
Charles G. Koch Charitable Foundation $95,888
Dodge Jones Foundatoin $90,500
DonorsTrust $88,650
Bradley Impact Fund $73,000
Chase Foundation of Virginia $61,100
Charlotte and Walter Kohler Charitable Trust $60,000
The Weiler Foundation $50,000
The Shelby Cullom Davis Foundation $42,000
Dorothy D. and Joseph A. Moller Foundation $35,000
Armstrong Foundation $34,500
Aequus Institute $32,000
JM Foundation $30,000
Diana Davis Spencer Foundation $29,000
Barbara and Barre Seid Foundation $25,000
Arthur N. Rupe Foundation $25,000
National Christian Charitable Foundation $20,950
Neal and Jane Freeman Foundation $20,000
Brady Education Foundation $20,000
John William Pope Foundation $20,000
Pierre F. and Enid Goodrich Foundation $20,000
Charles and Ann Johnson Foundation $15,000
True Foundation $11,200
Windway Foundation $10,500
Walton Family Foundation $10,000
The Vernon K. Krieble Foundation $9,500
Richard Seth Staley Educational Foundation $7,500
Joyce and Donald Rumsfeld Foundation $7,500
The Gordon and Mary Cain Foundation $6,500
Tepper Family Foundation $5,200
DeVos Urban Leadership Initiative $5,000
Vernon K. Krieble Foundation $4,500
Floyd Foundation $2,750
Kickapoo Springs Foundation $2,500
The Legett Foundation $2,500
Schwab Charitable Fund $2,000
The Challenge Foundation $1,000
William E. Simon Foundation $1,000
Wodecroft Foundation $1,000
Lynn & Foster Friess Family Foundation $1,000
John Templeton Foundation $250
John P and Kathryn G Evans Foundation $150
Grand Total $15,942,291

Tobacco Industry Funding

SourceWatch found that while the Capital Research Centre was critical of non-profit groups opposing smoking, it was also received funding from the tobacco industry including $50,000 from Philip Morris in 1995.
A 1997 internal briefing sheet on possible questions about PM funding of CRC stated “we have supported this organization for about ten years. Our level of support has averaged about $30,000 a year.[12], [13]

ExxonMobil Funding

According to Greenpeace's ExxonSecrets, CRC received $265,000 from ExxonMobil since 1998. [9]

ExxonMobil announced that the Capital Research Center would be one of nine groups it would stop funding in 2008 that had been associated with global warming skepticism. Exxon had made a similar promise in 2007, but most of the organizations continued to receive funding. [10]

Koch Funding

According to the most recent data available from Greenpeace, the Capital Research Center has received at least $699,200 from Koch-related foundations between 1987 and 2015. [24]

*Original tax forms prior to 1997 are no longer available for verification. If you include these values, the grand total jumps to $724,200 in Koch funding from 1987 to 2015[24]

Year Charles Koch Foundation Claude R. Lambe Charitable Foundation Grand Total
*1987 $5,000 $5,000
*1988 $10,000 $10,000
*1993 $5,000 $5,000
*1996 $5,000 $5,000
1997 $5,000 $5,000
1998 $50,000 $50,000
2000 $75,000 $75,000
2001 $100,000 $100,000
2002 $100,000 $100,000
2003 $100,000 $100,000
2004 $100,000 $100,000
2005 $50,000 $50,000
2006 $25,000 $25,000
2007 $25,000 $25,000
2008 $10,000 $10,000
2010 $20,000 $20,000
2011 $10,000 $10,000
2014 $14,800 $14,800
2015 $14,400 $14,400
Grand Total $74,200 $650,000 $724,200

990 Forms

Key People

The following people were listed on the Capital Research Center's website as of October, 2015. (Sourcewatch maintains records of past Board Members and notable previous staff): [14][12]

Board of Trustees

National Advisory Board


  • Terrence Scanlon — President
  • Scott Walter — Executive Vice President
  • Dan Thompson — Director of Development
  • Matthew Vadum — Senior Editor, Organization Trends and Foundation Watch
  • Steven J. Allen — Senior Editor, Labor Watch and Green Watch
  • Jana Marie Erwin — Development Associate
  • Christopher Krukewitt — Accountant
  • Tyler Stone — Office Manager

Tom Holt, appears to have been a past CRC “visiting fellow.” Holt has advocated legal reforms that would make it more difficult to sue corporations on the premise that “the consumer movement has imposed significant costs on industry–costs ultimately passed on to consumers–and has violated individual freedoms in a futile effort to protect us from our own actions and judgment.” [15]


May 8, 2017

CRC, represented by Steven J. Allen, is listed on an open letter to President Donald J. Trump urging him “to withdraw fully from the Paris Climate Treaty and to stop all taxpayer funding of UN global warming programs.” [27]

DeSmog reported that the 40 groups represented in the letter, including the Competitive Enterprise Institute (CEI), The Heartland Institute, and the Heritage Foundation, have received a combined total of millions of dollars from the Koch Brothers, ExxonMobil, and other industry groups. [28]

Analysis also showed that the groups accepted about $80 million through Donors Capital Fund and Donors Trust, two groups that have been confirmed is a key financial source for key U.S-based climate change denial groups. [29]

February 22 - 25, 2017

The Capital Research Center was a Contributing Sponsor of the 2017 Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), among a range of other conservative and pro-industry groups. [25]

According to CRC, their panels included “21st Century Labor Reform: A Better Way for Workers,” on February 23, “Revolt of the Deplorables: Inside Election 2016” on the 24, and “Is Political Correctness Killing U.S. Institutions?” on the 25. [26]

April 1, 2015

The Capital Research Centre staff wrote an article defending Willie Soon, claiming that “Leftist politicians and the media try to blacklist scientists who are skeptical about Global Warming,” and that the outing of Soon's significant fossil fuel funding by groups like Greenpeace has been a “Witch-Hunt.” [16]
Willie Soon was criticized when Greenpeace obtained documents regarding his funding thorugh the Freedom of Information Act, revealing that there were at least 11 times that Soon failed to disclose fossil fuel funding in papers he had published between 2008 and 2015. [17]

August, 2002

Terrence Scanlon of CRC was a signatory to a letter to President Bush, applauding his decision not to attend the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in Johannesburg.

“Environmentally and socially irresponsible corporations and their operatives are lobbying the Administration to snub the Summit and halt any progress toward addressing environmental accountability and global climate change,” said Friends of the Earth President, Dr. Brent Blackwelder. [18]

September, 2001

In the press release launching the Greenwatch site in the fall of 2001, Rep. Butch Otter (R-ID), called the groups included in the Greenwatch database “extremists,” and declared the purpose of the database was to “monitor and keep the extremists in check.” [19]


The Capital Research Center published studies criticizing charities such as the American Heart Association, the American Lung Association and the American Cancer Society for their anti-tobacco lobbying efforts. [20]

CRC was later criticized, and it was revealed that Phillip Morris had provided $50,000 in funding to the Capital Research Center. [21]

CRC has also published reports on the “Anti-Smoking Movement,” to which select PM staff were given advance copies. [22]

Capital Research Center Contact & Location

As of June 2016, the Capital Research Center listed the following contact information on its website: [23]

Capital Research Center
1513 16th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20036
(202) 483-6900
(202) 483-6990 (fax)

Related Organizations

According to Greenpeace's ExxonSecrets, CRC is a former member of Alliance for America and is a past member of the Cooler Heads Coalition (CHC). [9]


  1. Corporate Philanthropy,” Acton Institute. Archived February 2, 2007.

  2. “About CRC,” Archived December 13, 2010.

  3. About,” Capital Research Center. Archived October 18, 2015. WebCite URL

  4. Matthew Vadum. “Defunding the Left,” Capital Research Centre, October 31, 2009. Archived October 18, 2015. WebCite URL

  5. Neil Hrab. ”'Direct Action': The Tactics of Radical Activism: Part I” (PDF), Organization Trends (Capital Research Center), February, 2004. Archived February 5, 2007. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmogBlog.

  6. Steven J. Allen. “Global Warming: 25 years of this nonsense,” Capital Research Center, April 21, 2015. Archived October 18, 2015. WebCite URL

  7. Steven J. Allen. “Climate McCarthyism,” Capital Research Centre, June 17, 2014. Archived October 18, 2015. WebCite URL

  8. Bonner Cohen. “The Green Counter-Establishment: How It Holds Power” (PDF), Organization Trends (Capital Research Center). Archived November 27, 2008.

  9. ExxonSecrets Factsheet: Capital Research Center and Greenwatch, CRC. Accessed October, 2015.

  10. Exxon Announces Cutoff for Warming Skeptics – Again,” Integrity in Science, June 2, 2008. Archived October 18, 2015. 

  11. Capital Research Center,” Conservative Transparency. Accessed October 18, 2015.

  12. Capital Research Center and the tobacco industry,” SourceWatch. Accessed October 18, 2015.

  13. CancerScam M message Track,” May, 1997. Retrieved from Truth Tobacco Industry Documents. Bates #2078829061-2078829063.

  14. About,” Capital Research Center. Archived October 18, 2015. WebCite URL

  15. SLAPP Happy: Corporations That Sue to Shut You Up,” PRWatch, Second Quarter 1997, Volume 4, No. 2. Archived March 8, 2012.

  16. Witch-Hunt 2015: Leftist politicians and the media try to blacklist scientists who are skeptical about Global Warming,” Capital Research Centre, April 1, 2015. Archived October 18, 2015. WebCite URL

  17. Lisa Song. “A Guide To Willie Soon's Climate Research Funded by Fossil Fuel Companies,” InsideClimate News, February 23, 2015.

  18. Corporate-funded Lobbyists Aimed to Sabotage Johannesburg Summit” (Press Release,), August 19, 2002. Archived April 29, 2003.

  19. Betsy Z. Russel. “Green extremist site launched,” Spokesman Review, September 14, 2001. Archived June 14, 2012.

  20. T Friend, “Charities anti-tobacco lobbying is criticized,” USA Today, Bates no 2023914980, June 28, 1990.

  21. White J, Bero LA (February 2004). “Public health under attack: the American Stop Smoking Intervention Study (ASSIST) and the tobacco industry”. Am J Public Health, 94 (2): 240–50. doi:10.2105/AJPH.94.2.240. PMID 14759933. PMC 1448234.

  22. PM, PHILIP MORRIS,MARDEN,RE. 1994 September 06. Bates Number: 2044720167.

  23. Contact,” Capital Research Center. Archived June 13, 2016. WebCite URL:

  24. Capital Research Center (CRC): Koch Industries Climate Denial Front Group,” Greenpeace USA. Archived March 14, 2017. URL

  25. CPAC 2017 Sponsors,” Archived March 6, 2017. URL

  26. Capital Research Center is live at CPAC 2017!Capital Research Center, February 22, 2017. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog. URL:

  27. “Dear Mr. President” (PDF), retrieved from Competitive Enterprise Institute. Archived .pdf on file at DeSmog.

  28. Graham Readfearn. “Conservative Groups Pushing Trump To Exit Paris Climate Deal Have Taken Millions From Koch Brothers, Exxon,” DeSmog, May 10, 2017.

  29. Susanne Goldberg. “Conservative groups spend up to $1bn a year to fight action on climate change,” The Guardian, December 20, 2013. Archived May 12, 2017. URL

Other Resources